November 11, 2015
Translated from Russian by Tom Winter
War correspondent for the Lebanese paper Al-Safir, Omar Saif al-Farra, reports that the Syrian Army has lately liberated the town El-Taiba, and with that, has taken control of the strategic highway between Homs and Idlib. Later, as the Syrian Armed Forces took over the more important strategic positions, the Committee for National Reconciliation set up shop.
Abdul Rachman al Khatib, leader of one of the liberated towns, said that the discussions in the framework of reconciliation focused on two groups of the antigovernment fighters, the natives and the foreigners.
He did not say what would happen to the inhabitants of Al-Taiba, who had fought against the government, only said “the question is settled.” This does not mean that the jihadists will be eliminated or arrested. Most likely, they disappeared among the refugees. Foreigners were also allowed to leave, which they did right away; further, the city has been cleared of mines.
The local inhabitants returned to their homes after three years of being expelled. “They ran down the road, they hurried so to the town,” said
Abdul Rachman al Khatib to the Al Safir correspondent. Many of them claim that they would not have done this if they had not believed there has been a turning-point in the war. This is due, also, to their disappointment in “European hospitality.” The road to the German paradise has not met the expectations of many Syrian exiles.
As far as the fighting is concerned, the struggle has grown less violent. Omar Saif al Farra writes that the frequency of clashes between parts of the Syrian Army and the rebels is down because of the restricted military logistics of the militants. Many of the warehouses and bases of anti-government forces have been destroyed.
According to information available to him, Al-Nusra Jebhat and Daesh are out 786 militant bases or sites, 249 supporting command centers, 51 training camps for weapons and 35 factories — all destroyed.
But this is the least part. A source inside the Jebhat al Nusra told the journalist that there are only now 200 workshops/factories left for making explosives, and, more dangerous, new routes are being worked out for the transit of arms for the terrorist groups.
In addition, the rebels have been learning to minimize their casualties. In particular, a massive air attack one an ISIL base near Aleppo netted only three terrorists. Most simply fled to neighboring villages or hid with relatives, being sure that the Russian planes won’t hit the peaceful population. Thus, the absence of a united front deprives Syrian Army of the advantages of the combined forces.
So now tactics have switched to pinpoint strikes on the interaction of the Russian Aviation and ambushes by the Syrian army. In particular, in the city of Deir ez-Zor, in the vicinity of the mosque, 58 were destroyed as they fled from the zone of airstrikes, but then came under fire from Syrian special forces.
And in the vicinity of the village of Quneitra a 25-person detachment of Takfirists was destroyed by militia and the government army units, having offered scant resistance due to the fact that the nearest warehouses were bombed, and the militants simply did not have enough ammunition to fight.
However, you can only talk about small victorious actions: it’s a long way to the destruction of the system of anti-government connections, if it’s at all possible. First, despite losing the material bases, the terrorists remain, and even increase the number of their troops. Secondly, the Assad army is worn out, tired from four years heavy fighting.
In any case, this is what Omar Saif Al Farra argues. The soldiers and officers lack morale. They lack up-to-date weapons. Desperately the troops are able to defend themselves — or are able with their last effort to take the villages and towns, which the terrorists have actually left. Unfortunately, it is necessary to count on a large scale offensive.
In fact, Russia at the last moment prevented the fall of Damascus and the genocide of the Alawites. It is terrible to imagine the scale of the humanitarian disaster, if it had not been for the timely strikes of our aircraft.
The Damascus government newspaper “Syria Today” in this regard says that the most discouraging stab in the back for the Syrian army has been caused by local corrupt officials, which have multiplied in various government structures. Some of them have literally gotten rich through the past four years.
In the article “War of the Billionaires,” reported today in Syria, as well as throughout the Arab world, shadow income is ranging from 20 to 40% of GDP.
But it was not always this way. In 2010, Damascus was able to intercept the theft of five billion lire from the state treasury. It is not surprising that anti-corruption action angered the local authorities, where they would play the “tyranny of the Assad regime” card.
As a result in the current ethno-religious conflict, the legal situation in the country in recent years has changed for the worse. While some Syrians have been fighting with weapons in their hands, others have become billionaires, profiting from people’s misfortune.
Jemete Hasan, president of the “gold” of the Assembly of Syria, commenting on the situation, said that the cost of renting property in safe areas of the country exceeds all conceivable limits. At the same time land speculation and car smuggling have reached unprecedented dimensions. Currency manipulation has gone off the scale. A migrational mafia is thriving, as well as the market in cemetery plots.
The local rich people have enjoyed grey income, amassing vast fortunes, buying gold and taking it abroad, getting it out of the total control, Hasan Jemete reported. A former Minister of Industry and the Department of Economics Professor at Damascus University Dr. Hussein was forced to admit: “These rich people are the ‘terrorists’ most dangerous to the state. They keep the minimum income in the country, thereby paralyzing the circulation of capital.” Political columnist Ziad Ghosn, author of “War of the Billionaires” concludes that corruption in Syria, as well as in other countries, is a sign of a weakening Damascus government, which today has no effective tax authorities. So, before talking about the transition period, it is necessary to restore full control over the territory. Otherwise, the country will face more chaos, and then the total extermination of that part of the population, which, believing in the end of the war, returned to their liberated cities.